Current Institutional Affiliation
Associate Professor, Sustainable Development, University of North Carolina / Appalachian State University

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2010
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Geography, University of Minnesota / Twin Cities
Development of Discontent: Community Forestry, Livelihoods, and the Rise of Maoist Peasant Movements in Nepal

Why did oppositional social movements emerge from Rapti region of Nepal where development projects had been implemented intensively for many decades? Through an ethnographic account of the Rapti Integrated Development Project and subsequent community-based commercialization programs in Rapti, Nepal, this research will investigate the socioeconomic, ecological, and ideological effects of community forestry programs, and their connection in producing unrest and rebellion among the rural poor. By combining a) an ethnographic study of RIDP and associated programs with b) archival research of the core development agencies involved in the implementation of RIDP, and c) ecological survey of community forestry in the RIDP tract, this research explains the potential relationship between successful community forestry programs and rising social uprisings in Nepal. The recent entry of community-based approaches in development has unsettled conventional understandings of social movements, which generally treats social unrest as a response to external exploitation. However, in community forestry, local people themselves design and implement programs where they retain authority in decision-making about management and appropriation. Despite these changes in development approaches, however, social unrest has continued. To examine this conundrum, I will conduct the proposed research in two clusters of communities in the Rapti region. This research will show how ostensibly successful development program can enable social uprisings, and thereby allow us to adequately theorize causal connections between development and the rise of social movements in the global south.